Sri Lanka claimed four wickets in the second half of the morning session to have South Africa 256 for five at lunch on the second day of the second Betway test at the Imperial Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday, a first innings lead of 99 with five first innings wickets in hand.
South Africa seemed to be cruising at the midway drinks break on 216 for one with Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen going strongly, moving their overnight total from 148, adding 68 runs in the first hour. But then, as is with test cricket, the break brought about a wicket, and then some more.
Elgar had brought up his 13th test century and third against Sri Lanka with a lovely cover-drive while Van der Dussen registered his fourth test half-century during the morning’s play. The pair also registered the highest second-wicket stand for South Africa against Sri Lanka, beating the previous best of 125 between Elgar and Faf du Plessis at Galle in 2014. The pair’s 184-run stand was also the best second-wicket stand at the Wanderers.
But once the drinks break was over, Sri Lanka fought back and fought back hard, first with the wicket of Elgar, well caught by Lahiru Thirimanne at first slip off Dushmantha Chameera (13-0-53-1) for a well-played 127. Van der Dussen (67) fell in the next over, caught down the legside by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella off Dasun Shanaka (15-3-42-2).
Shanaka struck again, squaring Du Plessis (8) up, who edged through to Dickwella behind the stumps before Vishwa Fernando (17-0-63-1) completed a successful hour for the visitors when he had Quinton de Kock caught by Kusal Mendis in the slips for just 10.
South Africa had lost four wickets for just 23 runs but Temba Bavuma (7 not out) and Wiaan Mulder (7 not out) added 15 unbeaten runs for the sixth wicket to take their side through to the lunch break.
The home side owned the first day after Dimuth Karunaratne had won the toss and elected to bat first. The Sri Lankans were bundles out for just 157 before tea with only Kusal Perera offering any form of resistance with a top-score of 60, which came from just 67 balls and included 11 boundaries.
Anrich Nortje was the pick of the bowlers as the speedster claimed career-best figures of 6-56 while Mulder started the implosion with figures of 3-25 as Sri Lanka lost nine wickets for just 86 runs.
The hosts lost only one wicket in the afternoon session, with Aiden Markram edging through to Mendis off Aistha Fernando (14-2-53-1) for just five with South Africa’s total on 34 before Elgar and Van der Dussen batted out the remainder of the first day’s play with an unbeaten stand of 114.
**As published on Supersport.com